How to Live Off the Grid

Our progress and achievements as humans are at their peak while technological advancements continue at pace even today. This has led to us as a species achieving more comfortable ways of living than our ancestors were used to.

However with the increase in home automation and connectivity there has also been an increase in the interest in how to live off the grid. The practice gets its name from relying on utilities and services as little as possible and its use and management of the natural environment for survival.

Nowadays, most homes are connected to utility suppliers such as the National Grid in England for power, water and refuse collection. While supermarkets have every possible type of food available all under one roof.

Ancient woodland
Ancient woodland can supply the majority of your needs.

Living off the grid is a way of life that does away with these sources to rely more on self-sustenance and relying on the environment to varying degrees. There are several ways to achieve this and below we take a closer look at some top considerations of how to live off the grid.


Choosing Your Location

One of the most important decisions you will have to make when considering how to live off the grid is where to base yourself. The first consideration will be land but its location is equally as important too.

For example, as you will be living off the grid you will spend more time outdoors and your home may be more exposed to the elements if you’re located in an undeveloped location. In the same way, you will need to consider the climate of the area you are going to choose.

Read More: Colours From the Countryside, Dyes Derived from Plants

The level to which you’re willing to live off the grid should also help to determine where you choose to locate your home. The more remote you go, the further away from infrastructure and other services you will be, and vice-versa.

If you’re choosing to go fully remote you can base yourself anywhere that isn’t inhospitable although you would have to rely on yourself for everything. Others may want to keep within reach of civilisation by living within a few hours of the nearest town.

In terms of choosing your location, other key factors include ensuring there is a good water source on the land or nearby, forests or woodland for trees to use as fuel or building materials and foraging areas for food.

Read More: Stand and Deliver: Who Were Britain’s Highwaymen?

In addition, the land has to be fertile enough to go grow crops on. Depending on where you choose to live, there may also be planning permission or council rules you may need to follow as well. Once you find a suitable piece of land and meet all the rules you can then go on to the next stage of a new life living off the grid!


The next important consideration when planning how to live off the grid is shelter. This will provide your protection from the elements as well as being your base for sleeping, storage and more.

The weather will play an important part here as it will determine how robust your shelter should be but as a general rule its worth building a proper structure that will last while withstanding and providing protection against sunlight, rain or wind.

hammocks make a fantastic shelter
Hammocks make a fantastic shelter

Woodlands or forests are a good source of timber for use in building a shelter while it’s also possible to make your own bricks off of your land.

To make your own bricks you simply need to build a mold of your bricks and a kiln in which to bake them in. Next, create a mud source using soil and water and put it in the mold then tip them out and leave to dry. Some cultures add straw to their brick mixture to provide added strength.

Read More: Shire Reeve: You Know Him Today as The Sheriff

At least 24 hours in a hot kiln will bake the bricks and make them more solid. Having said all that, it is also a good idea to get professional contractors to build the structure for you depending on your budget.

However, there are many other easier options available that can instantly provide suitable shelter including camper vans, shipping containers, and prefabricated log cabins.

Water and Food

The other equally as important aspects of how to live off the grid are obviously water and food. As mentioned above it is important to get land that is near or has a water source such as a stream, river or lake.

These can then also double up as a source of food if they are populated by fish or other aquatic life. However, it is also possible to either dig a well or drill a borehole to get access to clean drinking water and for other uses.

Read More: The Mighty Medieval Tithe Barns

Water will also be important if you’re going to be growing your own food as this will sustain your plants in periods of low rainfall. A good water source is crucial as it will ensure that you can produce your own food all year round.

Foraging and Hunting

In terms of food, there are many other sources available for people living off the grid too, some of which can be grown or reared, and some of which can be provided by nature. Examples of food sources for those who would like to know how to live off the grid include the following and more:

  • Vegetables and pulses – a cheap and easy way to get nutritious, healthy food. Examples include tomatoes, root vegetables such as carrots, beans, peas, and more.
  • Tubers – tuber vegetables such as potatoes or sweet potatoes are a great staple that will bulk up your meals and keep for a long time.
  • Nuts and grains – nuts are a good source of protein as well as being a source of oil when squeezed or crushed. Grains can be cooked fresh or dried and ground to make flour.
  • Chickens, ducks, fish, goats and cows. – Domesticated animals are a good source of meat, eggs, milk and even pelts for clothing and shelter. With the caveat of those who are vegetarian or vegan, the number and size of animals you choose to keep for food may depend on the size of your plot of land and number of inhabitants.
  • Foraging and Hunting – where allowed you can take advantage of the abundant variety of herbs, berries, nuts, fruits and wildlife that nature has to offer to supplement your diet.

Power and Energy

The advancement of technology now means that there are a variety of options you can choose as your power or energy sources for living off the grid. One of the simplest forms of energy for cooking and heating your home is wood, but it is a finite source and there are now more environmentally and user friendly methods available.

Axe and firewood
A fire always creates calm

A good option for off grid living power is solar panels coupled with battery cells big enough to store the energy you produce for future use. Depending on your energy requirements, reasonably sized solar panels can power your off grid home if their use is augmented with other sources such as wood or generators.

However, for some, living off the grid means that they may prefer not to have any electricity and this approach can allow for a simpler existence. However most people will be used to certain home comforts. Therefore having a power source can make living off the grid more comfortable while allowing you to remain disconnected from any national infrastructure.

Waste Disposal

Another important aspect when considering how to live off the grid is waste disposal. As you will no longer be connected to a local authority sewer system or rubbish collection you will need to figure out your own waste disposal.

Read More200-year-old Skeleton of Shipwrecked Sailor Found on Cornish Coast

In terms of the WC, this can be a simple composting toilet, pit latrine or a more sophisticated septic tank that can be emptied when full. You will also need somewhere to dispose of your day to day rubbish and a pit situated a good distance away from your home is one option. This can be regularly fired to help reduce the amount of waste in it.

Additionally, you can reduce waste by composting any unused vegetation for use as manure for plants, recycling your water, upcycling items and even bartering any surplus produce with neighbours.

Technological advancements mean that there are now many gadgets and tools that can help make living off the grid easier. If you’re considering how to live off the grid but are unsure if you can do so without certain home comforts, there is hope! Below is a list to help you get started but which is by no means exhaustive:

Other Useful off the Grid Equipment

  • Water Butts – a good way to collect rainwater or store water from other sources closer to home and for future use. Can also be used to create a shower system for bathing.
  • Wood Burning Oven – great for cooking but can also double up as a heat source for your home.
  • Domestic Wind Turbines– a different option or addition to solar panels.
  • Generators – generators are a great back-up power option but you may want to limit their use as they are fossil-fuel powered and produce a significant amount of noise pollution.
  • Batteries – for storing the energy you produce from generators or solar panels.
  • Satellite Internet /Phones – the internet is also now available no matter how remote you are thanks to satellite services such as Starlink. Satellite phones can also provide a connection to the outside world if you are in area without mobile coverage.
  • A Greywater System – this is a system that can help you recycle your ‘grey water’ from dishwashing and baths and allows you to use it to water plants or for use in cleaning the bathroom.
  • Books – books or online sources are a great way to educate yourself and expand your knowledge of how to live off grid. From growing your own food to identifying edible or poisonous plants and learning new skills, books are great resources to have when living off the grid.


The above is by no means exhaustive for anyone considering how to live off the grid but it could be a good place to start from or find inspiration. Living off the grid is not easy, especially to begin with, but it is not impossible either, and can be and actually is a more fulfilling and affirming way to live for many people all over the world. By following the above, you could also soon be well on your way to a new life living life on your own terms, disconnected from the grid, and self-sustainable.